Mt. Beacon

Scenery: 4.5 cameras out of 5

Difficulty: 5, 7 or 10 out of 10 (depending on how far you choose to go)

Highlights: Multiple awesome views, rebuilt fire tower, incline railroad ruins, choose-your-own-adventure difficulty

Distance: 2.4 miles up/back (overlook), or 4.4 miles up/back (overlook + fire tower), or a big fat 7.7-mile beast of a loop that hits the overlook, fire tower and several other points of interest

Approximate roundtrip time: 1.5 hours (overlook), 3 hours (overlook + fire tower), 5.5 hours (7.7-mile beast loop)

Total ascent: 1,004 ft (overlook), 1,561 ft (overlook + fire tower) or 2,603 ft (7.7-mile beast loop)

Max elevation: 1,653 ft above sea level if you go to the fire tower, 1,210 ft if you turn around at the overlook

Limited time dealie (ends December 6): Get some cool Hike the Hudson Valley gear for your favorite local hiker this holiday season! (More details in this Facebook announcement of the Kickstarter campaign.) Look sharp out there, everyone!

Super-cool Google Earth flyover of hike route:

Google Terrain Map of hike route (beast loop): 

This hike is for you if: You want to see some gorgeous views at one of the most popular hiking destinations in the Hudson Valley, and climbing 1,000 vertical feet (or more) to get there is not a deal breaker.

Background you can feel free to skip:  When my old hiking group used to climb Mt. Beacon, our usual path took us on a bunch of deer trails, which was, as far as we could tell, exactly what our trail book was telling us to do.

“Are we lost?” new hikers would always ask as branches slapped them in the face.

“Not really,” I’d reply, heading in the general direction of the decrepit old fire tower that didn’t have any stairs, following in the hallowed hoofprints of the furry souls who blazed those barely visible trails.

Fortunately, Scenic Hudson and the Mount Beacon Incline Railway Restoration Society have made that old route obsolete, and you can now traverse a very well-maintained trail system all around Mt. Beacon.  As an added bonus, the newly renovated fire tower (which reopened on June 22, 2013) now has stairs!  It’s much more pleasant to climb that way.  Thank you, Mt. Beacon Fire Tower Restoration Committee and all the people who sponsored the individual stairs (especially you, CHUNK THE DOG).

You can make your day on Mount Beacon as easy or as difficult as you’d like (assuming you’d like to climb at least 1,000 vertical feet).  To get to the first overlook at the old casino ruins, you’ll have to climb about 200 stairs, then proceed around a bunch of steep, rocky switchbacks.

The view at the casino overlook is so awesome, you could absolutely make it your final destination.  If you headed back to your car from here, you would have bagged yourself a nice 2.4-mile roundtrip hike, complete with a righteous clifftop money spot.

To me, though, it’d be a shame to be this close to the Mt. Beacon fire tower without paying it a visit.  That’s the hike I’d recommend to most hikers, if you have enough gas in the tank for the extra 2 roundtrip miles and 500 vertical feet that it will cost you to visit the tower.

This is one of the rare fire towers around here where you have the option to chicken out and still have some awesome views.  Not AS awesome, but still awesome.  Just throwing that out in there in case you like hiking, but hate heights.  There’s still plenty to see here.

If you’re feeling super-crazy-ambitious (and you’re going to pay very close attention to the trail markings), you could continue after the tower over to Fishkill Ridge along the Wilkinson Memorial Trail, adding an extra 3.3 miles and 1,042 vertical feet to your day (the tower is the high point on this hike, so your additional ascent comes from the rolling hills along the rest of the loop).

For most hikers (I’m guessing somewhere around 95%), adding this additional mileage will be overkill — the best views are at the casino ruins and the fire tower.  But if you want to make a big fat loop out of your day here, there are more sights to be seen in the hills beyond the tower.

I’ll write the trail guide below as if you’re doing the entire beast of a 7.7-mile loop, but I’ll also advise you when to turn around and retrace your steps back to your car if you’re just going to the overlook or the tower, as I expect the vast majority of hikers will be doing.

However much of a hike you decide to tackle here, just be sure that you do pay Mt. Beacon a visit.  It’s one of the most popular hiking destinations in the Hudson Valley because it deserves to be.


Trail guide:

1.  From the parking area (See “Directions to the trailhead” below), make sure you brought all the supplies you’ll need.  If not, there’s always the convenience store across the street.  (Don’t worry, you’ll be getting into nature soon enough.  But for now – Oreos!) Speaking of nature, if it’s calling, boom, there’s a porto-potty in the parking lot.  The big kind!  We know how to treat hikers right around here. When you’re done with all that, check out the informational kiosk (might as well learn something while we’re here), then follow the gravel trail behind the kiosk, toward your date with altitude.

2. Walk around the wooden gate and proceed along the gravel path.  You’re on the red-blazed Casino Trail right now (or heading towards it) — I didn’t notice any blazes until a little further up the trail.

In this first section of trail, you’ll see some inviting nature-walk-type trails intersecting from the left, but I’d recommend turning down their invitations.  You’ll need all your calories to spend on the upcoming climb. 3.  Just a few minutes from the parking lot, you’ll come to the ruins of the Mount Beacon Incline Railway, which was the steepest railway in the world during its operation.  Cool, right?  Also, try not to think about the fact that you’re about to climb the mountain that was once home to the steepest railway in the world.

4.  Just past the ruins, you’ll arrive at an impressive staircase.  If you were able to forget about the whole steepest-railway-in-the-world thing, the 200 or so metal steps here will probably remind you.

When you get to the top of the stairs, turn around to check out the modest hint of a view behind you.  Also, feel free to do the Rocky Balboa hands-in-the-air jumping thing.

5.  You’ll start to see some red blazes along the trail now.  About five minutes after the steps, the Red Trail turns hard to the right, and you’ll see three yellow blazes on your left, marking the beginning of the Yellow Trail.  (If you do the entire 7.7-mile loop, you’ll come back to this spot via the Yellow Trail much later in the day.)

For now, ignore those yellow blazes and keep following the Red Trail, turning right and heading uphill.

6.  This area is laced with unmarked trails, sometimes from hikers taking shortcuts instead of following the switchbacks (bad for erosion, and for karma).  Keep your eyes peeled for those red blazes and don’t be lured (accidentally or otherwise) by the siren call of the unmarked trail.  Beyond that, you know, just keep going uphill.

7.  About fifteen minutes from the top of the stairs, you’ll arrive at an unmarked fork.  On our visit in late summer 2013, the right fork had two wooden posts in the ground, with one helpfully tagged “EVOL”.  Doesn’t matter which way you pick – these trails meet up again in a few feet.  I chose left.  I won’t be offended if you pick right.  (But I think left is the actual trail.)

8.  About ten minutes after that unmarked fork, you might notice that things have taken a turn for the rockier.  And, somehow, for the steeper.  Just keep on chugging.

Historical curiosity: The Mt. Beacon Incline Railway was once the home of the real-life Little Engine That Could.  You think you can, you think you can.

9.  From the unmarked (except by EVOL) fork, it took us about 15 minutes to reach the upper ruins of the Mt. Beacon Incline Railway.  Follow the trail as it hooks right to visit the ruins, where you’ll get your first real taste of a view for the day.

10.  Have a look inside the ruins and check out the views and the old railway machinery.  The real estate listing for this place: Charming brick Cape Cod with breathtaking views and excellent ventilation.  Original appliances included.  Just looking for right owner and a little TLC!  (But for real, how awesome would it be if this place was restored and back in business?  We’re all pulling for you, Mt. Beacon Incline Railway Restoration Society!)

11.  When you’re done looking inside, head down the stairs directly to the left of the building, then take a left to follow the path a short way to the awesome clifftop overlook at the site of the old (now non-existent) casino.

12.  Grab a seat.  Take it in.  Eat a granola bar.

13.  When you can peel your eyes away from the view, take a look at the hills behind you.  There are some communications towers looming over the trees, marking North Beacon Mountain.  And there, off to the right, up on the hilltop (South Beacon Mountain), see that teeny-tiny tower?  If you’re going to the fire tower, that’s where you’re headed, one mile (one-way) and 500 vertical feet from here.  Up for it?

If not, retrace your steps back to your car from here, carefully following the Red Trail the whole way down.  Hope you enjoyed the trip!  You may not be visiting the fire tower today, but you’ll get the last laugh – when the rest of us are stumbling back down the hill later today, you’ll already be polishing off your last slice of post-hike pizza.  Bon appétit!

14.  Oh, you’re heading to the tower?  Excellent decision.  Let’s do this thing.

We’re going to continue following the Red Trail toward the tower.  To pick up the scent of the Red Trail again, walk across the old casino grounds toward the tower.  On the far side of the clearing, you’ll find a red blaze on a large tree that’s standing by itself.  **UPDATE November 5 2014 **  According to Beatrice’s comment, that red blaze (pictured below) is no longer there, and is now on a smaller tree further back.  Thanks for helping to keep this guide current, Beatrice!

Just past that tree, if you’re anything like me, your dog will take a dip in a disgusting giant puddle.  Ah, how refreshing.  Then you’ll take a right to hop on the well-marked dirt road that’ll bring you closer to the tower.  As always, ignore any unmarked trails (there are plenty of them out here) and follow the red blazes.

15.  In less than ten minutes from the casino clearing, you’ll come to the best-marked intersection of the day, with a large sign pointing toward CASINO SITE, back the way you’re coming from.  Across the intersection, notice the FIRE TOWER sign.  That’s your huckleberry.  Continue straight across the intersection to keep following the Red Trail toward the tower.  (UPDATE 4/21/2015: According to Mandy’s comment below, the signs may no longer be there.  If that’s the case, never mind about this being the best-marked intersection, but you’ll still head straight across the intersection to pick up the red blazes on the other side.  Thanks, Mandy!  UPDATE 7/25/16: Per Rafael’s comment below, I should explicitly state that “straight” means the little red-blazed trail that dips downhill straight ahead, not the larger unmarked road that climbs the hill to your left.  Thanks, Rafael!)

16.  Just a couple minutes after the well-marked intersection, no more Mr. Nice Road.  The Red Trail becomes an actual trail again.  Oh yeah, we’re climbing the tallest mountain in the Hudson Highlands.  Almost forgot.

After some steep climbing, you’ll pop into a clearing (it took us nine minutes to get there from the intersection with the signage) with a clear view of the tower, which is now a good deal closer.  You’re getting there!

17.  Five minutes after that clearing, you’ll arrive at the (unmarked) spot where the White Trail used to ascend to the fire tower, departing up the hill to your right.  On the day I was here, this is the trail everyone was still using, including me, because, at that point, I didn’t know that a well-marked reroute of the White Trail was just ahead.

The most obvious (but not that obvious) sign that you’re at this spot is (as of late summer 2013) a faint blue blaze on a tree in the middle of the well-traveled path to your right.

From here, it’s .2 miles and 164 vertical feet to the tower.  What you SHOULD do is continue down the Red Trail for another minute, turn right to stay on the Red Trail at an unmarked fork, then turn right onto the freshly blazed White Trail to hop on up to the tower.

I’ve never taken that new section of White Trail, though.  Next time!  Instead, I turned right a minute too soon (just like everyone else) and took the old, rocky, very well-beaten path up to the tower, which still bears some of the old trail markings.

It’s good karma to take the actual trail – they’re usually rerouted for a reason.  So, you know, whichever way you pick, hop on up to the tower!  See you there.

18.  Dude.  What a spot.

Even before you muster the courage to climb the tower, there are some awesome views to greet you as you stand atop the summit of South Beacon Mountain.  Pretty sure that was a peregrine falcon that just flew by, too.

When you’re ready, take a deep breath and give that sucker a climb, thanking each of the people on the name plates for providing us some nice sturdy stairs to climb.

From up top, you’ll have views of pretty much everything.  The Beacon Reservoir and Catskills to your northwest, the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge and Gunks to the west, and, to the south, the southern Hudson Highlands, and, you know, lots of other hills and stuff.

On a clear day, you can apparently see New York City from up there.  I wasn’t here on a clear day.

19.  When you’re done taking in the views, carefully descend the tower (I didn’t need to tell you to be careful, did I?)

and retrace your steps to back down to the Red Trail, returning the way you came up.

20.  Decision time!  If you’re done hiking for the day (well, halfway done), take a left on the Red Trail and retrace your steps all the way back to the casino overlook, and then down to your car.  This is the course of action I recommend for pretty much everyone.  You’ve seen the best views you’re going to see today.  The only reason you’d continue along the 7.7-mile loop is if you really want to get into nature (you’ll have much less company where we’re headed next), you want to see some more nice views, and you think walking another 5.5 miles (and climbing another 1,000 cumulative vertical ft) from here sounds like a good time.

You heading back home?  That’s a good call.  Hope you enjoyed the trip today!  If you happen to see CHUNK THE DOG on your way home, be sure to give him a pat on the head.  Otherwise, have a safe trip back to your car!

21.  You’re still here?  You beast!  Okay, you asked for it.

If you came back down on the proper, freshly blazed White Trail, hang on a second while we wait for the degenerates who took the old way.  If you took the old, unmarked way down, turn right on the Red Trail, hang a right at the unmarked fork to stay on the Red Trail, then meet the rest of us at the junction of the Red Trail and White Trail, where we’re all waiting, tapping our feet and giving you disapproving looks.

Take the left fork (it’s a actually a right turn if you’re coming down the White Trail from the tower) to continue on the Red Trail.

22.  In just a minute, you’ll arrive at another fork, where you’ll go left to stay on the Red Trail.

23.  In less than five minutes, you’ll come to an intersection with three red blazes that mark the end of the Red Trail.  Thanks for the good times, Casino Trail!  At this intersection, you’ll turn left to hop on the yellow-blazed Wilkinson Memorial Trail.

We’ll be on the Yellow Trail for the next 1.9 miles.  Meandering along, it took us 70 minutes to reach the next junction (a left turn onto the Blue Trail, but we’ll worry about that later).

24.  Just keep hoofing along, following the ample yellow blazes.  In less than ten minutes, more southerly views will open up to your right.

And then, ten minutes later, hey, more views!  This time, you’re looking out over the Beacon Reservoir.

This section of trail alternates between plunging you into the woods and taking you across bare rock faces.  Look for yellow markers on the trees and painted yellow blazes (and the occasional cairn) on the rock faces.

Good rule of thumb for life in general, and especially for this trail: Keep your eyes peeled for giant spiders that hang out at the same height as your face.  I was here on September 13, 2013, and I narrowly missed catching a giant, exotic-looking spider in the face on at least two occasions. From some web searches, it looks like these were marbled orb weavers.  If you do catch one in the face, you can take some solace in the fact that they are “harmless to people,” as soon as you get done screaming.  They’re also apparently busiest in the late summer, so if you’re here at a different time of year, maybe you won’t see any.  If you are here in late summer, another good rule of thumb: Let your hiking partner go first.

What were we talking about again?  Ah, yes!  The Yellow Trail.  Keep following it.  It took us 23 minutes from the Beacon Reservoir overlook to reach another nice, open spot with southerly views.  You can juuust make out some tiny little buildings on the horizon, very far away – if that’s not New York City, it’s gotta be close.

25.  A couple minutes after that overlook, alert hikers might notice the little state park boundary marker just off the trail.  Ten minutes or so after that, the Yellow Trail takes a well-marked bend to the right – don’t get bucked off!  This trail takes several sharp turns in this section, but they’re all well-marked.  Stay on your toes!  And on the Yellow Trail.

26.  The intersection of the Yellow Trail and Blue Trail is almost a T – the Yellow Trail turns sharply to the right and uphill, while the Blue Trail begins to your left, sloping gently downhill.  You’d probably hop on the Blue Trail by accident if you weren’t paying attention to the markings – it looks like the logical way to go, and it is.

Bid adieu to the Yellow Trail here and turn left onto the Blue Trail.

27.  Here’s where the logic ends.  The Blue Trail really wants to buck you off of it.  Remember that, and play, “Where’s the next trail marker?” for the entire (fairly short – approx. 15 minutes) length of your stroll on the Blue Trail.

In a couple of minutes, you’ll find yourself strolling beside some impressive stone walls to your left.

If you weren’t paying attention, you’d follow the trail through a break in the wall in just a moment.  But, of course, you ARE paying attention, so you’ll see that blue blaze on the smaller trail to your right, at the little fork.  See it?  Good!  Go that way, to your right.

28.  In two more minutes, arrive at another fork, where an unmarked trail follows a stone wall to the left.  Turn right here to stay on the Blue Trail.  (Tried to trick us there, didn’t you, Blue Trail?)

29.  In about ten more minutes, you’ll arrive at what was, as of late summer 2013, a 100% unmarked fork.  Well played, Blue Trail.   It took us a couple of scouting jogs to figure out which way to go.  The answer is left.

And if your eyes are really sharp, you’ll see the nail with the blue fragment of what used to be a really useful trail marker on a tree to the left of the fork.  (On the back of that same tree, you’ll see a nice intact blue marker that you’d only notice if you’re approaching the fork from the other direction).

**UPDATE** In the forum, EdC tells us that he reported the blazing issues along the Blue Trail, and that the always-awesome New York-New Jersey Trail promptly came out and improved it.  Sweet, and thank you both!

30.  A minute after that unmarked fork, you’ll arrive at a local landmark: Dozer Junction.

Here’s how this junction came to be:

“Hey guys, there’s a bulldozer over here.  Help me move it?”
“How about we just leave it and call this place Dozer Junction?”
“Dude!  Let’s go drink some beer.”

Actually, I have no idea what a bulldozer is doing out in the woods, but, you know, here it is.  Even more important — three blue blazes are also here, marking the end of the Blue Trail.  Goodbye, Blue Trail, and nice try!  You didn’t buck us off, you wily devil.  But not for lack of trying.

31.  From the dozer, you might be tempted to take the wide, unmarked trail straight ahead and uphill.  On each side of that trail, though, you’ll see two white blazes.  You need to hang a left onto the less-obvious White Trail here, following the two white markers on the skinny tree to the left.  See ‘em?  Excellent.  Onto the White Trail we go.

32.  We’ll be on the White Trail for 1.64 miles, climbing over the top of Lambs Hill and descending back towards Mt. Beacon.  We’ll ascend 361 ft and descend 958 ft on this section, before we turn onto the Yellow Trail.  It took us about an hour to reach that junction from here.  Let’s get to it!

Follow the amply blazed (but apparently less-trammeled) White Trail as it winds up Lambs Hill.

You’ll crest Lambs Hill and descend to a nice westerly overlook of the Hudson Valley (this is the final destination of the Fishkill Ridge: Lambs Hill hike, if you ever want to come here again via a more direct route).  It took us 10 minutes to get here from Dozer Junction.  Not a bad spot for a break, if you’re looking for one.

33.  After you’ve relaxed for a moment, continue along on the White Trail, picking your way downhill and following an old stone wall.

10-15 minutes from the summit of Lambs Hill, you may notice the Red Trail exiting to your right, with a three-way arrow on the rock to help you see this junction.

Pay it no mind, and keep heading straight on the White Trail.  Going down!

34.  Enjoy wide intermittent views as you plunge downhill.  From the Red/White junction, you’ll descend 788 feet on the White Trail.

Hey, look!  There’s the tower we climbed like 100 miles ago.

Keep following those white blazes as the trail twists and turns down the hill.  Don’t be lured onto any unmarked trails – there are a few lurking around here.

It took us about 15 minutes from the Red/White junction to reach our next turn – you’ll see a dirt road through the woods, then the White Trail dumps you out onto it.  Turn straight/left onto the road to continue on the White Trail, which joins this road for just a moment.

35.  In less than a minute, turn right to follow the White Trail as it splits from the dirt road.

36.  In about five minutes, the White Trail crosses a stream on a nice wooden footbridge.

You’ll then walk past what can be a very nice cascading stream, perhaps worthy of being called a waterfall.  We visited in late summer, though, so it was more of an enthusiastic drip when we were here.

About five minutes after the footbridge, follow the White Trail as it crosses the stream again, being careful not to stroll past this stream crossing on the unmarked trail that continues straight along the right-hand bank.

37.  If applicable, when you cross the stream, say hello to your friendly neighborhood marbled orb weaver.

38.  My time estimate for the next turn is going to be WAY off.  I thought the Yellow Trail junction should have been closer than it was to that stream crossing, so I burned a bunch of time and calories investigating unmarked trails that went nowhere.  It took me 18 minutes from the stream crossing to reach the clearly marked junction with the Yellow Trail, but it should take you about half that, or less.

In any event, keep a sharp eye out for the Yellow Trail splitting off to your left – careful not to burn right past it!  Veer left here to bid adieu to the White Trail and hop on the Yellow Trail.

39.  Once you’re on the Yellow Trail for a moment, you’ll see the official three-blaze beginning of the trail.  We’ll be on this trail for about one mile.

40.  The Yellow Trail meanders through the woods for about ten minutes before you come to a confusing T-intersection with a yellow blaze on a thin birch tree, and no indication of which way to turn.

We tried left first – that was wrong.  Turn right here to stay on the Yellow Trail, heading downhill.

(Right after you turn, you may notice the nail that once tacked a very helpful yellow blaze to that tree on the right-hand side of the intersection.) 41.  The remainder of the Yellow Trail is well-marked.  Just keep following those yellow blazes and ignoring any unmarked trails.

Enjoy the breeze rustling through the leaves, the birdsong high above, the pristine trail beneath your feet, and the rusted-out SUV stuck in the brush.

Maybe it’s meant as a habitat for woodland creatures, like when they make an artificial reef by sinking a ship.  As far as local landmarks go, Discarded Woodland SUV pales in comparison to Dozer Junction, right?

In any event, just after the SUV, veer left at the unmarked fork to stay on the Yellow Trail.

42.  In another 2-3 minutes, veer left at another unmarked fork to stay on the Yellow Trail.  (We had to duck under a small birch tree here, but this may be remedied by the time you come ambling through.)

43.  Dude, uphill again?  I know, it’s lame, but you’ll climb less than 100 feet here.  Probably seems more like 1,000.

Just past a row of metal poles (if these are here to keep SUVs from being discarded in the woods, they might have been installed a little too late), you’ll arrive at a familiar intersection from waaaaaay earlier in the day (Step #5 above): the Red Trail/Yellow Trail junction.

Choose the right fork, which heads mercifully downhill again.

44.  From here, retrace your steps from earlier in the day to follow the Red Trail all the way down.  Hello again, stairs!

And then, five minutes later, your car!  Bet you thought you’d never see it again.  You’ve conquered the entire 7.7-mile beast loop.  Congratulations!  You are super hardcore.  If you did this hike with other people, now is the appropriate time to high-five them.  However large or small your party is, you should probably turn around and air-five Mt. Beacon, too.

Also, if you didn’t snag any Oreos before the hike, you are entitled to eat an entire column of them right now.  Feel free to cross the street and cash in.

 


Directions to the trailhead:  From intersection of Route 9D and I-84 in Beacon, head south on Route 9D for 2.6 miles.  Route 9D (also called Wolcott Ave. in this stretch) bends hard to the right, and you’ll see Howland Ave on your left.  Just past the intersection of Route 9D and Howland Ave, you’ll see the very well-marked entrance to the Scenic Hudson parking lot for Mt. Beacon Park.  Turn left into the parking lot from 9D and let the adventure begin!  (You can also turn left onto Howland Ave and then turn right into the parking lot, if that suits you better.)

You can also get directions by checking out the Beacon Mountain (Mt. Beacon) entry on the HiketheHudsonValley.com Google map.

Sorta nearby address for your GPS:  I can’t get Google maps to recognize the intersection of Wolcott Ave (aka Route 9D) and Howland Ave, so let’s use the address for Bob’s Corner Store (right across from the trailhead) instead:

640 Wolcott Ave
Beacon, NY

The well-marked Scenic Hudson trailhead is just yards south of that address.  Rock and roll!  And thank you for all the awesome natural places to explore, Scenic Hudson!

GPS coordinates of parking area: 41.49371, -73.9597 (Clicking will open in Google Maps or the Apple Maps app, depending on your browser/device.)


 

Related resources: If you’re looking for actual facts and/or useful information, visit these resources:

  • The official Scenic Hudson Mt. Beacon Park page
  • The very nice official Scenic Hudson trail map (which includes the overlook and fire tower, but not the entire loop described above)
  • A great 2011 New York Times article on the hike and railway restoration efforts: Once a Fast Track, Now a Real Hike to the Top
  • The succinct Mt. Beacon Wikipedia page
  • More information on the fire tower from beaconfiretower.org
  • Big plans and good info on the Mount Beacon Incline Railway Restoration Society homepage
  • More info on the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s Mt. Beacon Park page
  • A very nice trail guide for the exact same loop hike (they clock it at 8 miles even) described above from the always-awesome New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

More Mt. Beacon pictures from the hike’s Flickr album:

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109 thoughts on “Mt. Beacon

  1. Note to self: always review the site carefully before rushing off to start hiking.

    On Saturday morning we (me, the Mrs., my older brother, and my 9 year-old daughter) set off to take this hike. Now I had only glanced at the article, really and somehow came away thinking that the “big fat 7.7-mile beast of a loop” was actually 4.4 miles. No one but me could really make this mistake I don’t think; 7s not really looking much like 4s. About a half hour into the Wilkinson Memorial Trail we realized that something was amiss. What followed was a sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious look into the hearts of hikers or rather one hiker and 3 murderous companions.

    We survived. Looking back at the site now I feel even dumber.

    Thank you so much for this invaluable resource.

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  2. I just did this hike yesterday (August 7, 2017). Very rarely do I disagree with our amazing hiking guru, but I am going to have to when it comes to this hike. In my opinion, it is the second half (i.e. the 5.6 miles that turns it into a loop) that is the amazing part. So, the first 1.2 miles up is very steep and very hard, and a great work out, but it is PACKED with people. When you get to the top it is an accomplishment, but the view is hard to enjoy with the crowds. Same thing can pretty much be said when continuing on to the fire tower. But then, if you continue on you pretty much see no people and its one of the best hikes I’ve done from this website. It is not too hard, and there are at least 5-6 additional view spots and a waterfall! And, as the only person there, I enjoyed these views so much more than the first ones. They may not have been 360, but they were breathtaking. In sum, if you have the time and the athletic capability, you are doing yourself a disservice not to do the full hike, it is incredible! Thanks Mike!

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  3. Does anyone know if the port-a-potty is back at the entrance? It wasn’t over the winter, but I figure that might’ve just been because it was winter. I’m taking some new to hiking friends there this Saturday and the most asked question, especially among the ladies who refuse to use bushes, is “WILL THERE BE A BATHROOM?!?!”

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  4. Hi everyone – I am planning to hike Mt. Beacon on Memorial Day wknd and will be taking the Metro-North from Grand Central To Beacon Station. It seems to be a lengthy walk from the station to the trailhead… can anyone suggest options? I’m not sure if cabs/etc are readily available at the Beacon station.
    Thanks!

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    • If you consider yourself moderately fit, aren’t worried about time and haven’t been to Beacon, I actually suggest taking the longer 2 mile-ish walk (there’s a shorter way) through downtown Beacon to get to the hill. I did the hike a few months ago and in my mind I felt like the walk through the town was part of the Mount Beacon Journey. It’s such a beautiful little place, Seriously, while walking through the town I texted my GF and was like, forget NYC we need to move to Beacon., plus it helps you plan out where to have dinner when you’re done, though I suggest the Two Way Brewery which is like a 2 minute walk from the station, they also serve food. You also walk over a little bridge over Fishkill Creek which is a decent picture spot too.

      But if you don’t want to walk, I don’t recall seeing any cabs at the station, but then again, I wasn’t looking for them. But I do know there is a bus that drops you off near the trail, but I don’t recall how often it runs.

      Oh also, on the trail, pay close attention to Step 17. above. That came into play for me on the trail, I ran into a couple unsure about the correct path and I was also unsure, so we consulted this site and made our way up.

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    • I totally agree with Chris. I’ve taken the train up from NYC and hiked Mt. Beacon twice. If you’re used to walking a lot in NYC, it’s not really a terrible walk from the train station to the trail head. I usually walk from the station along Wolcott Ave/9D which takes you along the edge of town straight over to where the trail starts right by the Bob Mountain Grocery. If you take that path, it’s just over 1 1/2 miles, and honestly, it’s beautiful because you have the mountain in your sight the whole time, which gets you excited for climbing it! Cutting through Main Street adds a mile on, but you DO get a feel for the restaurants and shops of Beacon and can scout out places to eat after your hike (I’m a Doctor Who fan, so I’m partial to the Pandorica). I don’t know about cabs, but Chris is right that there are some buses than run through main street that can get you closer if you don’t want to walk from the station to the trail.

      Have a blast! It’s a beautiful hike! I recommend going all the way up to the fire tower if you can. The view is amazing.

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  5. Went on the 7.7 mile loop today. It was an ambitious feat but I did it. I have to say this guide is awesome. Thank you so much for it! Really good and easy-to-follow directions. And written in a way that’s not boring. It felt like I was hiking it with you there. So good. Thanks again!

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  6. Supposed to top out at 65 tomorrow and I am itching to bang out a long hike. Has anyone done the Beacon-Lambs Hill loop in the last week? I expect lots of mud, but do I need my spikes as well?

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  7. Went here on 1/21/17, this guide was spot on (minus the toilet at the beginning, which I suspect is due to it being January). So spot on that it came into play on the trail. I ran into a couple trying to get to the tower near the rocky way and the guy was like, “I SWEAR you go right here” and she was like “NO, the white trail is over there, see!” I was like, “guys, this guide online says you take the new, freshly blazed white trail.” and they were like “is the guide Hike the Hudson dot com?” …”yeah!” … “we LOVE that guy!” So, anyway, some strangers bonded over their love of this site on this trail.

    Side note: This is pic from the gear ruins is like my most favorite picture of me now, if I had a rock album this would be it’s cover. So go here if you want a new rock album cover.

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    • This comment made my day! Thanks so much, Chris. (Even if you hadn’t left this awesome comment, I’d still totally buy your album with that shot on the cover.)

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  8. Thanks for the guides! They’ve been really helpful to us as we are beginning to explore more Hudson Valley hikes. Beacon was wonderful today!

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    • Hi, J! That sounds really dangerous to me. They’d be very slippery, and they’d likely get soaked through in the wet snow today. I recommend only attempting this with waterproof hiking shoes/boots, ideally with micro-spikes attached or at least accessible in your pack. Hope that doesn’t sound too alarmist, but I really recommend against tackling this very steep hike in snowy conditions without the proper gear.

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      • Hey Mike
        Thank you for the prompt reply, it was a good hike even though temperature was low.
        We made it only to the overlook , we couldn’t go to the fire tower . There was snow but it was beautiful. The trails were well marked and the view was great .

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      • I have been trying to upload pics but it wasnt successful. Sorry for the repeat in comments.
        It was a winter wonderland today but was beautiful

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        • So glad to hear all went well out there, Jessy! Sorry to hear about the problem uploading pics, too — not sure what the issue is, but you’re not the first to run into it. Would love to see some of them!

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  9. I actually saw one of those marbled orb weaver spiders on a Breakneck hike – they look so cool and scary, but luckily they’re not poisonous or venomous. This is a picture of the one I saw:

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  10. Wish my husband and I read this more as we hiked because we totally went the wrong way on the long loop. After the tractor we made the mistake of going right on the white trail. Ended up going north west to route 9 in Fishkill. First time we ever had to cab it back to out car. 13 miles of walking.. yay! Only us!! Lol.. but it definitely was an hike and may just do the out and back next time. 😉 Oh and our dog Remington loved it!!!

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      • We walked into Fishkill … That’s when we realized we took a wrong turn. So we walked 2 miles on the road to McDonald’s! Lol… Quite the adventure. The cab driver was awesome and let us in the van with our dog! Found an amazing restaurant in Beacon that allowed dogs and ate sooooo much 🙂

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  11. Mike, Thank you for all the details you provide on the descriptions of the hikes. I always check your site wherever I’m going on a hike. The pictures help a lot. Thank you…

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  12. Just did this trail on a Saturday up to the tower and back. I went up for sunset, and came down with a head lamp. The views were insane. I’m not sure if I’ve seen a better viewpoint, and I’ve been 10,000+ ft up in the swiss alps. The colors in the sky were amazing, the wind felt great on a 95deg day.

    A note though is that at the no longer marked fork, where you say to go straight, i would just clarify for others that straight means the little trail going down, not the large road climbing up.

    On my way down I managed to get lost somewhere near the bottom (since it was night time), ending up on what might have been a service road. Luckily, it put me out of the forest only a couple minutes walk from the parking lot, so for any other hikers that accidentally leave the red trail, you’ll probably be fine.

    Thanks for the guide, excellent as always! This was the third hike of yours that I’ve done, and they have all absolutely floored me.

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    • Beautiful shot, Rafael! And thanks for the thought on an update to make things clearer — I’ve updated Step 15 above accordingly. Much appreciated!

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  13. Incredible trail guide. My buddy and I made the Beast Loop our virgin trek in the Hudson River Valley, and had no regrets! Highlights were the Fire Tower and the open rock faces on the yellow trail part of the larger loop. Started around 8am and finished at 1pm, so great time estimate. Once we rejoined red trail at the end the afternoon crowd had joined in and the parking lot was full. On the larger part of the loop we hardly saw anyone which was great. Thanks again, Mike, and keep up the good work! My buddy and I will be back to try more trails.

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  14. I’m doing this on Saturday and hopefully II can out up with the 7.7 mile beast. Anyway, I’ve been eyeing this trail for the longest time since I’ve done Breakneck and Cornish trails already. I’m a Rail to Trail hiker so I have to choose a trail that’s close to a train station enough- something this one is not. But darn it, I’m doing this and I’m taking the beast loop! Fourth of July weekend will be pretty epic. Btw, your trail breakdown is very helpful for lone hikers like me. Just wondering, who takes your photos?

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    • Thanks so much, Breech! Hope you had a great hike if you ended up tackling the beast loop. As for the photos, I just snap them as I stroll along. Some of my buddies have also contributed photos to a few of the trail guides. Happy adventuring!

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  15. Mike, I’ve been using your guides for a few years now and I want to offer a belated note of gratitude. Can’t begin to tell you how much fun I’ve had with friends and family as a result of your guidance. I was up on Beacon yesterday, Feb. 2. What a difference a year makes! I was using microspikes until the second week of April last year. Yesterday… no snow, and barely any ice. Sadly, this mountain gradually is becoming more of a dump. Garbage all over the place on North Beacon and more graffiti keeps getting sprayed on the railway ruins. Even worse, the lesser traveled paths up to South Beacon have new graffiti. Yesterday, I was almost run over by a guy in full moto gear on his motocross bike as Casino ends and WMT begins. Erosion is getting worse from jeeps and ATVs. A few more heavy rains and the erosion is going to make things worse. Never thought I would say this, but I might start avoiding Beacon moving forward…

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  16. Awesome descriptions. Thanks so much. My wife and I did the hike today and you got us all the way to the top of the tower. Thanks so much!

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    • Thank you so much for the detailed descriptions. Solo first journey on this trail (all the way to tower) was thoroughly enjoyable with the help of your explicit detail. Thanks again!

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  17. Thanks for this great guide! I hiked Mt. Beacon with friends this week. It was a fun hike and was very beautiful but I wanted to warn people that we got several ticks each,. It was surprising since we used tick spray and stayed on the paths. If you do the hike take precautions and be sure to do a thorough tick check afterwards.

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  18. Thank you so much for giving such great instructions with photos and landmarks. You did an amazing job!!! I am looking forward to doing it today!!

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  19. Thank you so much for this guide, it was great! Super easy to follow and we had an awesome hike this past weekend. Just a tip: I think at what used to be the well marked intersection from step 15, you’ll notice on your left is a trail going up and then on your right the trail continuing. The red marker that indicates you should go to your right/straight is basically non existent (it looks like most of it got ripped off) so we went to the left (which is actually a road-road, saw people on ATVs going on it). After a few minutes we noticed there are no trail blazes so we turned back, and saw the sliver of the blaze we missed and continued on. Saw a few people do the same thing we did so just a tip to be aware it is definitely not a well marked intersection anymore!

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  20. Took my wife and two boys (aged 9 and 7) up to the Firetower this morning. Thank you so much for the trail guide. The photos are a great help. We had an amazing time and didn’t get lost once! 🙂

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  21. Thank you so much for your thoroughness in documenting these hikes. Because of your tips and trail descriptions, I was easily able to do my first Hudson Valley hike on Monday up to the fire tower of Mt. Beacon with no trouble at all. I am a novice hiker, but I felt like an expert because of the information your site provides. I had a blast on my first hike, and I fully intend on doing a lot of the other hikes featured on Hike the Hudson Valley. Thanks again for being awesome!!!

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    • Really appreciate all the kind words, Emmy – thanks so much! Glad you had a great day out there, and hope you have many more great hikes in the area.

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    • Hi Rochelle! I’ve only ever walked it, but if you know any people who are crazy enough to run up and down mountains, then I don’t see why this one would present any unusual difficulties. Except for the fact that it is a mountain, I mean. If you are running up and down Mt. Beacon, you most definitely deserve to eat at least an entire sleeve of Oreos, beforehand and afterwards. Good luck!

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      • Thanks! I’m heading there this morning. Woo-hoo! I live in the city but am training for a 50K with massive elevation gain, so this seems like just the right amount of wrong. Will report back.

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        • Good stuff. I ended up getting a little lost (uh, my fault entirely), but it was all good. Added on some extra miles! Definitely recommend power-hiking, not running, the steep initial ascent, but much of the blue trail is an absolute delight to run, and I really appreciated running down that same steep red trail on the way back down (although it did seems to terrify/freak out a few other hikers).…

          Fun fact: If you accidentally find yourself on someone’s private property like I did (uh, like I said, I got a little lost), be aware that the bulldozer in their yard is NOT, actually, the Dozer junction…

          Thanks again for the guide; it was fun. 🙂

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  22. By a lucky chance I found your website while looking for a new trails to hike. This is awesome !! Love the way you describe all trails and have pictures . I hike every weekend and it’s hard to find a website that posts pictures. Thank you for this ! I’m heading to Mt. Beacon today.

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  23. Went up about 3 weeks ago and there was still tons of snow, hopefully all gone now. The ruins were super cool but we got turned around because of the weather before the fire tower, hoping to get back out there now that warm weather is here! The “casino” sign mentioned in step 15 *may* be down because of the winter weather – can’t say for sure though, since there was so much snow and ice, but we were looking for it and couldn’t find it. Hopefully we were just turned around though! But a mild warning! Great guide as usual, your ranking systems help me pick which hikes I do with certain friends in order to make them love hiking as much as I do! Thank you for all your work!

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  24. Maggie – my wife and I just hiked Mt Beacon and the fire tower today. The trail is well-packed snow the entire way and is slippery in spots. We were happy to be wearing microspikes, as were most of the other hikers we met along the way. By afternoon the surface was wet and soft so traction coming down was poor; without traction aids of some sort I suspect a couple falls would be expected. A week from now I think there will still be plenty of snow but more muddy spots opening up. You want real boots; snowy/slushy trails are not the place for running shoes.

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  25. Has anyone ever hiked Mt. Beacon in March? My boyfriend and I will be hiking it on March 21, 2015. We are athletic, but not experienced hikers so any tips you have would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  26. Hello. I have done the beast loop a second time now. I really enjoy it. All credit to you for this excellent guide. I would not have even known about it if it weren’t for you. Much thanks! But, this time I was left with curiosity about a possible additional loop that can be added to it. I noticed when you hit the Yellow / Blue junction (where you take a left to follow the blue trail to Dozer Junction), the yellow trail actually continues to the right. In looking at a map, I believe if you follow it, you will eventually reach a junction where the White (Fishkill Ridge trail) branches off to the left. This is the same white trail you reach at Dozer Junction, except following it from here takes you on a long-cut over to Bald Hill, then eventually hits Dozer Junction and Lambs Hill. I was just wondering if you had any experience with this additional section of trail (near Bald Hill), and know approximately how much time and mileage taking this long cut would add to the overall hike. Thank you for any input!

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    • interesting, has anyone ventured out this way? i saw the same trail heading to the right by the dozer but didn’t want to risk it

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  27. Hello, I was thinking to try this hike on Tuesday 25th, it seems that the weather will be decent, in 50s, no rain. Do you recommend going at this point in the year or should I wait and do it in spring? In comments above people mentioned that there might be snow there, very windy and also leaves on the ground (falls, slips worry me), I am in my 30s and in good shape, but wouldn’t want to do the hike now if in the spring it would be more enjoyable and less risky. Would appreciate your suggestions. Thanks.

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  28. The website and photos were a big help.
    Great way to spend Veteran’s Day.
    Humor was a must on the way down since
    most of the leaves are down and covering the
    loose rocks. Great workout 🙂

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  29. I did this hike today and just wanted to put out a big thank you for creating this fantastic website. Without your trail guide I probably wouldn’t have ventured out into the wilderness by myself… I will try another one soon before the winter cold completely freezes my motivation to remove myself from my snuggly nyc apartment…

    The only change I noticed was that the red marker on your picture #14 is no longer there, it is now on a smaller tree behind it.

    P.S. If I wanted to send you something out of gratitude for your work, how would I do that? You probably don’t want to post your address here where any old internet weirdo can see it, but could you email it to me? :-}

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    • Beatrice,

      Thanks so much – I just updated Step 14 with a link down to your comment. I’ll drop you an email, too, though I should really be the one sending you stuff for helping to keep this guide current. Thank you!

      Mike

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  30. So I went this morning. Started at 5:30am, reached the tower by 6:30am. There were 50mph gusts so I couldn’t climb it. Attempted the loop, followed the white, looking for the red, then yellow, then blue. Found the blue first, which if not for the markers would not be a trail. Led is back up towards the tower (I think) brought us to the red, which eventually led us to an unmarked trail that came out on 9d just passed the disc golf & Clearwater. Where did I go wrong?

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      • Teresa — Sorry to hear it! I’m looking at a map now, trying to figure out where things went wrong. Are you saying that you went directly from the White Trail, just under the tower, to the Blue Trail, without ever finding the Red or Yellow Trails? If that’s the case (and from your description of the nearly non-existent blue trail), I’m wondering if you found old markers from a blue-blazed trail that is no longer maintained – there isn’t a Blue Trail on the map anywhere near the tower. (I have a picture of an old blue blaze in that area, in Step 17 above.) The Red Trail->Yellow Trail connections are very close to the tower, within just a few minutes, so if you’re not seeing them immediately upon coming down off the tower and descending that rocky bluff, that sounds like where the problem might be.

        I’d love to hear a follow-up if you figure out what happened, especially if the trail guide above needs to be revised to help others avoid the same issue. Good luck!

        I’m looking at the map again — if you kept heading south after the tower (instead of retracing your steps back north, to the Red Trail, per Step 19), the White Trail does indeed hit the blue-blazed Breakneck Ridge & Notch Trails after a while (blazed Blue+White if you go left, Blue and then Blue+Yellow if you go right). Following either of those trails could eventually take you back down to 9D. That’s my new best guess — if you retrace your steps back to the Red Trail after the tower, you should be good to go. Could that be it? Hope so — in any event, good luck out there, and please let me know if the trail guide needs revision!

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        • I went back up but reached the top at sundown so we went back down the red. I had only looked at your guide before I left the first time, so I didn’t have it with me. We must’ve ended up on the old blue like you said, it wasn’t even a deer trail lol. Do you know if the one we ended up on is before or after the red we were supposed to find? Is there anyway to put together a trail map that includes this whole area. It’s impossible to find a good map, online anyway. I don’t think your guide needs revision, I’m a master at getting lost in the woods. We definitely followed the white trail south from the tower, we descended down some steep bluffs at the bottom the blue blaze was on our right. So to be clear we should’ve went down from the tower the way we came up & then kept an eye out for the yellow due north of the tower?

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          • Mystery solved! Yes, from the tower, you should backtrack back to the Red Trail (Step 19 above), then take a right to continue onto the Beast Loop, or left to head back to your car. If you’re going to tackle the entire loop, you’ll need to be really careful to follow the directions above exactly (there are a ton of turns and different trails), and I highly recommend springing for the NY-NJTC map for this area: http://nynjtc.org/product/east-hudson-trails. You won’t regret that purchase, I promise. Hope that helps, and good luck on your next visit!

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  31. I just got back from doing the full loop alone – my first solo hike. Thank you so much for this very detailed write up. I think I would still be out there somewhere without it. Somehow I missed the turnoff from the Red trail to the Yellow trail after climbing the tower. The turn is so obvious that I am embarrassed to admit I missed it somehow. Ended up going 10-15 minutes down the unmarked trail that goes straight ahead before I finally convinced myself to turn around. I checked your guide and realized I must have overshot it, and found it easily after returning. Also, the first Yellow trail looks like it is getting overgrown in parts, I think it needs more foot traffic. But, the views from that trail were totally worth it.
    Overall, this was an excellent hike with a variety of sights along the way: casino ruins, fire tower, scenic overviews, dense forests, a dozer, and a rusted SUV all packed into 7.5 miles. I hope to return and show some friends next time!
    In the meantime, I will definitely be looking at more of your hiking guides to get some ideas for my next trip! Thanks again!

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  32. The full loop was a great hike. Even on a crowded day, we didn’t see any fellow hikers after the firetower area until we got closer to the other side. The directions were very helpful for landmarks and tricky spots. There was many places with views in every direction possible including the city on a clear day. We skipped the fire tower so the hike was about 7.2 miles. If you want your hike to just be a little longer or just want a different view not far from the firetower, walk the red trail past the tower trail until the yellow trail and follow it a 1/8 of a mile and there is a nice view on some rocks and you can see the city. Being fall time, it was cool to see the tops of the hills red and beginning to change. Will hike again.

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  33. I just did the mega loop today…damn it was tough. It was pretty much on point with your notes above. The one area that I got off the trail was at the Dozer Junction transitioning to the White Trail.
    I was pretty exhausted at that point, and missed the section where you mention to not go down the middle, in between the white makers. After about 10 min, I noticed I hadn’t seen a white marker, and I actually went off on another unmarked trail off the main unmarked I was currently on. I figured something was off, so I double backed to the Dozer, turned my phone back on and read that section carefully. That helped me also understand the “positioning” of the markers when they use 2 together. It kind of “points” you to the left or right.
    Overall, it was great. Thank you so much for the very accurately detailed information, it saved my butt today. Next time, especially on a long unknown hike like this, I’m gonna do it with a buddy. I wouldn’t really recommend doing this one alone.

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    • Hi Donna! You shouldn’t find a mob scene here during the week, but this likely won’t be a hike that you’ll have all to yourself, either (unless you continue past the tower). I burned a day of vacation to visit on a Friday, and while there weren’t a ton of other hikers, we passed several other people. Hope you have a great visit and find plenty of elbow room!

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  34. I have never hiked one of your trails but from after reading a few of your guides, I cannot wait to do so! Question, would this specific hike be doable with a baby on a carrier? My husband and I are in ok shape but I wanted to make sure it was ok to do it wearing our baby. I hope so… Thanks!!!

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    • Hi Natalie! Nice to hear from some other baby-luggers. I have carried a baby on my back to the casino overlook (Step 12 above) with no problem, but that’s as far as I’ve gone while kid-lugging. There aren’t any rock scrambles or extremely difficult spots anywhere on this hike (though it is generally quite steep) to keep you from going as far as you’d like. If you want my two cents, I’d say the casino overlook would be a great final destination, the tower could be a nice stretch goal if you’re feeling up to it, and anything beyond that would be overkill (though still technically doable, it would probably be too much for you and for junior). And from a guy who once fell flat on his face while carrying a baby, hiking poles are really nice to have for extra stability when you’ve got a little person on your back and no margin for slips and/or tumbles. Hope you have a great time out there if you decide to give it a go!

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      • Hi Mike! We did the hike today with out little one and we absolutely loved it. You are right, totally doable. We actually ventured out and went up to the Fire Tower… it was Amazing! Thank you so much for your helpful advice.

        Feel free to let me know what other hikes you recommend with the lil one in tow.

        Thanks!
        Natalie

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        • Fantastic – so glad to hear it! The list of hikes I wouldn’t recommend while carrying a kid is probably easier – Breakneck, Bonticou, Lemon Squeeze & Labyrinth, Indian Head & Twin Mountain, Surprise Lake I and II. Otherwise, depending on how much of an adventure you’re looking for (and how rested your shoulders are), the rest of them are manageable. If you busted out the tower, sounds like the Hudson Valley is pretty much your oyster 🙂 I hope you all have many more great trips with your little one!

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  35. Hi David. I was on the Yellow Trail yesterday and actually started my hike from where you ended up. You missed the turn off onto the blue trail, which takes you to the white trail. It happens!

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  36. I don’t know where we went wrong, but we attempted the “Beast” loop yesterday and wound up at the bottom of the yellow trail in Cold Spring near Route 9. Had to call someone to pick us up and drive us back to our car in Beacon, lol. We’re going to attempt the loop in reverse, one day, to see where we turned wrong. I’m thinking we must have missed a (possible?) earlier junction with the yellow trail from the white trail. Not sure! Beautiful hike though!!

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    • Hi David. I was on the Yellow Trail yesterday and actually started my hike from where you ended up. You missed the turn off onto the blue trail, which takes you to the white trail. It happens!

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      • Actually, we made it from yellow to blue to white; however, after re-reading this page over and over for where we went wrong, I think I found it! I think under step 31, we made the right on to the white trail and not the left. Oh well; like you said, it happens! 🙂

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        • David,

          Man, that sounds like a frustrating day out there – glad you had someone who could come pick you up! Sorry to hear about the mishap, and glad you figured out what went wrong. If I could into improve the write-up to keep the same thing from happening to other hikers, please let me know! Good luck conquering the beast next time!

          Mike

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  37. Thanks for a great guide! I always peruse your site before I go on any hike, even if it’s one I’ve done before! I went for a super early morning hike last Friday to Mount Beacon, had my breakfast on the casino site, and decided to finally try for the fire tower, as well! Great views!

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  38. Thanks for the great guide. I’m planning to do the hike this weekend! One question: do you happen to know if there’s anywhere to lock up a bike near the trailhead? Or perhaps by Bob’s Store? I need to bring my bike in order to get from my home to Metro-North in the Bronx. Can I ride out to the trailhead, or am I better off locking up my bike somewhere in Beacon? Thanks!

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    • Hi Lisa. While there isn’t an official bike stand, there are plenty of places to chain a bike to (like trees in the parking lot). I am not sure what kind of bike lock you have, but hopefully you have something that will work. Enjoy the hike! And if you are doing the full long loop, good luck!

      -Ed-

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      • Good answer, Ed! Agreed – I don’t recall seeing bike racks right there, and don’t see any in my pictures of the parking area (and don’t see any at Bob’s, either, though there could be some around the side), but there are plenty of other posts, fences, signs and trees that should be fine for locking a bike. I’d recommend bringing it to the trailhead and improvising from there – you shouldn’t have a problem finding a good spot for it.

        Hope this helps, Lisa — have a great hike (and ride)!

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      • I hiked Mt. Beacon today and saw that someone had chained their bike to the bottom of the stairs, which is just slightly passed the beginning of the hike. Seems like a good place to me!

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  39. I did the reverse long loop today, meaning I joined the yellow trail soon after climbing the stairs on the Casino (red) trail. The views from Lambs Hill and along the yellow Wilkerson Memorial trail were excellent. Sadly, the blue trail is just

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    • oops. Just as poorly marked in this direction as it is in the direction you took. I’m going to use the NY-NJ Trail Conference website to report it.

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  40. Did this trail a week ago! Definitely worth it!

    Wish I had more time/planned it better. Wanted to do the whole loop but sunset was about an hour after getting off the fire tower 🙁 Still enjoyed it thoroughly.

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    • Sounds like you made the right call on that one. Glad you enjoyed it – good luck if you tackle the whole loop next time!

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  41. Thanks for these amazing guides! I have done a few of your hikes now, & your jovial tone and detailed instructions are Botha pleasure & a tremendous help.

    One thing I will say about this hike- I am in ok shape (live in the city, have a job that jeeps me mostly on my feet), but my hiking companion we learned is not, and this hike was rather difficult for him. We had to stop several times to rest, & he thinks his legs will probably hurt tomorrow. He’s not a big lard, either, but lives a mostly sedentary lifestyle. We only went as far as the casino ruins, since more was basically out of the question.

    I’m not saying I was bounding up the mountain, but just warning others that it is, in fact, a mountain- you climb straight up almost the entire way. If you’re not sure you’re ready for it, maybe pick something a little less strenuous & work your way up to this.

    Unless you’re the guy we saw on the trail- passed us on the way up, & came back down before we had reached the top. Didn’t look like he was running, either- just an obnoxiously healthy human being who walked straight up in about half an hour. If you’re him, I applaud you & hope you make your living doing that, because if not seriously what gives?

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    • Thanks for the awesome feedback, Bef! Very much appreciated. The way you described that obnoxiously healthy human (my new favorite phrase) at the end is giving me the mental image of Rob Lowe from Parks & Rec. I hope he did some yoga at the top.

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  42. Thanks again for the amazing trail guides! It was extremely helpful for research and helping me Be Prepared (Scout Motto). I hiked this on December 2013 and to my surprise, the entire trail was covered in 1-2 feet of snow. It was a very strenuous but rewarding hike of a life time! The views were breathtaking and super spectacular! Thank goodness I made it to the firetower and back on time. One of the best days of my life!

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    • Thanks for all the awesome feedback you’ve given on this site, Jeremiah! Seeing your comment here reminded me of the photo you posted a little while back, perhaps my favorite Mt. Beacon shot yet.

      I’m still hoping the whole mid-air jump photo thing takes off.

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  43. This trail guide was awesome! As all of the ones on this site are. We went to Mt. Beacon in October. Beautiful place but crowded on the weekends. If you do the whole 7.7 mile loop the crowds thin out a little past the tower. Thanks again love your guides!

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